Dundee FC have hit out at a supporters group for not quelling talk of a merger with Dundee United.
The Tele revealed last week that talks between the club’s American owners and Dundee Football Club Supporters Society Ltd (DFCSS) to acquire a chunk of their shares in order to bring their holding from 68.2% to over 75% have been ongoing.
Doing so would remove the veto rights of the DFCSS over a number of issues, including over the new stadium proposal at Camperdown Park but also safeguards over any future sale of the club or potential merger with another club.
However, owner Tim Keyes and managing director John Nelms could gain 75% of the club anyway through a rights issue without the agreement of the DFCSS.
In a statement released this afternoon, the club have criticised DFCSS after the fans group apparently “raised questions to the motivation of the club owners”.
It said: “It has been brought to the attention of the club that the Supporters Society Consultation document was circulated prior to the Society AGM raised questions to the motivation of the club owners wishing to acquire the ‘A’ shares currently held by the Society.
“In January 2017, during a minuted meeting with the Supporters Society, the club owners informed the Society of their plan to acquire a 75%+ shareholding in the club through a share issue.
“The Society were briefed on the reason for this acquisition, which was to provide tax relief for the club owners and their development company, Dark Blue Property Holdings. This tax relief would be beneficial as they moved forward with the new stadium project.
“In January 2018, the club owners informed the Supporters Society of their intention to proceed with the acquisition of the 75%+ shareholding in the club through the share issue, as previously discussed.
“The share issue is a lengthy and costly exercise for the club. The sole motivation of the owners is to offset the losses of the club against any gains made by Dark Blue Property Holdings.
“The club met with the appropriate solicitors to discuss this matter over the following months in order to move the process forward.
“In July 2018 the Supporters Society enquired whether within this process they could move their class rights associated with the ‘A’ shares into a shareholding agreement.
“The owners of the club took into consideration this request, as taking on the Society shares would save time and money needed for the share issue process, and therefore began negotiations in good faith to purchase the ‘A’ shares from the Society.
“The acquisition of the ‘A’ shares has potential benefits for both sides, and while the negotiation of the finer details has yet to transpire, one such benefit is that the club could operate in a more commercial manner, which would allow for dividends to be paid. This could also allow for greater investment into the club.
“It is disappointing to see that the Society has chosen not to make it clear that at no time has the merging of the Dundee clubs ever been discussed in any of these meetings, nor has it ever been contemplated by the owners of the club.
“The owners of the club will continue to take informed and proactive decisions that are best suited for Dundee Football Club.”